Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
About fifteen years ago, there was a local woman who sold religious folk art/outsider art items at her booth at the Saturday Market. Saturday Market is a long running street fair in Eugene (since 1970), full of booths of hand made items, as well as food booths and lots of music.
I bought several things from her at the time and did a paper on her when I was studying folklore at the University of Oregon.
This is a beaded necklace, with a wood pendant. On the front is an image of St. Maria Magdalene. On the back is a little label: “St. Maria Magdalene Patroness of Fallen Women.” This is what Books of the Times site has to say about St. Maria Magdalene:
There is a breathtaking moment in the Gospel of Philip, one of the Gnostic gospels, which were denounced by the church as heresy. The apostles witness Jesus kissing Mary Magdalene on the mouth. The apostles are horrified, jealous. ”Why do you love her more than us?” they ask. Jesus’ response is mysterious and enigmatic. ”Why do I not love you like her?” he says.
What is the meaning of those kisses? Sexual passion? A profound friendship? Jesus anointing Mary Magdalene as his successor and as leader of the church?
Traditionally, Mary Magdalene has been seen as a reformed harlot, portrayed in paintings as red haired and bare breasted. But as Karen L. King, the Winn professor of ecclesiastical history at Harvard University, in the Divinity School, points out in her new book, ”The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle,” nowhere does the Bible say that she was a prostitute.
I know I have that paper, with photos, around here somewhere. I also have other items that I hope to take snaps of and post. I think the woman — a very colorful person! — called herself “Sister Spirit” and I want to say “bear” was in there somewhere, but it’s been many years and I don’t remember.
She sold jewelry with decorated images of the saints and the BVM as well as Jesus. She was known for her Jesus nightlights: religious plastic nightlights of Jesus and Mary, (the kind you can buy at dime stores; I’ve even seen them at Dollar Store type places) painted, often with neon colors, and decorated with beads, glitter, feathers .
I haven’t been to the Saturday Market for a couple of years; but when I have gone there, I didn’t notice her around. I think she left the area some time ago, or at least, stopped making her wonderful folk art.
Here’s a law from 1998 out of Yamhill county. The city of McMinnville is in Yamhil county; McMinnville is home of the famous Trent UFO photos, and host to the annual McMinnville UFO Fest in May. This law outlaws anything to do with what’s generally referred to as “fortune telling”:
5.08.110 Occult Arts.
(A) “Occult arts” means the use or practice of fortune
telling, astrology, phrenology, palmistry, clairvoyance,
mesmerism, spiritualism, or any other practice or practices
generally recognized to be unsound and unscientific whereby
an attempt or pretense is made:
(5) To give advice or information concerning any matter or
C) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or prevent:
(1) A duly organized and recognized religious organization which promulgates religious teachings or beliefs involving spiritualism or similar media from holding its regular meetings or services.
(2) A school, church, fraternal, charitable or other benevolent organization from utilizing occult arts for a bazaar or other money-raising project, provided that all money so received is devoted exclusively to the organization sponsoring the affair.
Any money collected must be given to the cause.
So religions are exempt, sort of, unless your religion includes the use of oracles and related practices and there is money exchanged, even if it’s a donation. In other words, the donation can’t go to the practitioner as appreciation for services, but it can go to, say, a charity. Occult Arts, then, is not to be taken seriously and is marginalized and certainly trivialized, and of course, illegal. It’s also exploited: okay to use it as a fund raiser, wink wink.
I wonder how constitutional laws like this are? Be interesting to see the arguments made in court for that. After all, a county or city can’t create laws making religion illegal: it’s okay to be a Baptist, but being Lutheran is a misdemeanor?
Laws against religious practices are nothing new in this country, and I’m not suggesting using divination, intuitive arts and oracles are necessarily religious. But having laws like this seems unconstitutional. Yamhill is a beautiful county; I’ve considered moving there at various times. But not if I have to worry about breaking the law every time I give a reading or a session which often includes the use of oracles or Tarot.
Oregon writer Dave Masko writes on Sri Yantra “crop circle” symbol: UFO sighting signature Sri Yantra discovered in Oregon, now found… I remember this “crop circle” symbol in eastern Oregon several years ago, but, despite this quote:
Hainsworth said the “Sri Yantra” is known to “just about everyone who’s interested in UFO’s” here in Oregon, but it may not be known or understood by others.
(Guess I’m not in the loop, because I didn’t know anything about this.)
The symbolism of this sign:
In brief, the Sri Yantra is similar to an ancient Hindu mediation symbol, “but, we’re told it’s much, much older than any civilization from India,” adds Hainsworth while presenting a recently found copy of this proposed UFO “signature” at a recent “watchers” meeting at Seaside.
(thanks to Lesley at The Debris Field for link.)
According to this site, Sri Yantra mandala is the mother of all mandalas; all that follow are aspects of Sri Yantra.
It is a mandala, a geometric abstract that symbolizes the cosmos which, in this case, is also the body of the goddess. The goddess is supposed to reside in her physical, visible form in the dot or bindu at the center of the Yantra while simultaneously permeating the entire universe. This ‘double presence’ concept is vital in grasping the Sri Yantra. Her seat has four ‘pillars’: Brahma – the creator, in the Northeast; Vishnu – the preserver, in the Southeast; Rudra – the dissolver, in the Southwest; and Sadasiva – the eternal Shiva, in the Northwest.
Mike Clelland of hidden experience posted the audio interview from awhile back, thanks Mike! In that interview, I talk about a strange experience I had involving a cone of light while discussing Bigfoot and Stan Johnson. Johnson was a so-called “Bigfoot contactee” though I dislike that term, who lived in Sutherlin, Oregon. Johnson had many encounters with a Sasquatch family and UFOs.
conversation with Regan Lee
“Dryad Materializing,” James Rich acrylic on canvas
“You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding.” ~ Terrence McKenna
The quote if from Daniel Moler’s (for Reality Sandwich) article Machine Elves 101, or Why Terence McKenna Matters The article is, as Moler writes, a kind of “Terence for Dummies” includes several good quotes from McKenna.
I’ve been asked many times why I explore the things I do; why I blog and write about my UFO, anomalous and paranormal experiences, and generally, pursue the esoteric/Fortean realms. This Terrence McKenna quote resonates with me as explanation.
I would just say that “understanding the universe” is an overwhelmingly and very large assumption, and if misunderstood or misinterpreted, may sound ridiculously arrogant. I don’t believe I or anyone can presume to understand the universe, as in “Oh! I got it all now!” moment. (Even when we think we’ve reached those moments of Satori, they soon fade, like a great and very important dream, and we’re back to the mundane. . .) (And yet, if we’ve had those moments, they become a part of us, no matter how hidden away they may end up . . . ) But as a process, a journey for its sake, makes sense to me.e
The Eugene Weekly is a free “alternative” paper that’s been around for many years. Eons ago it was called What’s Happening but they changed the name to get rid of that PNW hippie vibe.
Writer Rick Levin wrote a fairly in depth article on the Oregon Sasquatch Symposium. It’s always good to see articles on fringe topics. At the same time, in my personal non-scientific observations, the liberal/left often mocks and rejects topics like this. Secular humanism, or who knows. There’s exceptions of course, in fact, a local UFO group that seems to be more concerned with energy and disclosure than UFOs and related topics — always bringing it back around to a political agenda I still haven’t figured out — are, for the most part, liberal leaning. It’s just something I’ve noticed; that usually, liberals just don’t take things like this seriously, make fun of New Age stuff, and so on. I know, I make fun of New Age stuff, (and yeah, I’m a left leaning hippie) but that’s my issue. I’m also a bit New Agey, so it’s my way of coping with my own crystal crunching nature.
Levin acknowledges listening to Coast to Coast every night, yet he’s a non-believer in esoteric and fringe subjects. And, he has a decidedly classist view of the Coast to Coast audience:
I’ve always pictured the generic caller as looking like a backcountry cross between Ted Nugent and Zippy the Pinhead, and paranoid to the point of psychosis. It’s a grossly unfair portrait, I know, but there it is.
I suppose it’s to his credit he acknowledges such a crass opinion. Levin says he expected to see this same kind of person at the Sasquatch conference, but he was happily surprised to find:
here was nothing weird or offbeat about the people at the symposium, nor was there anything discernible in the way of gender, age, class, fashion or any other outward indicator that might describe the average symposium-goer — nothing, that is, save a rapt collective attention to the matter at hand. These folks emanated that unmistakable aura of people who know exactly why they are where they are. To a person, they were polite, attentive, responsive and knowledgeable.
But I’m really getting off track here. The article gives a good overview and I appreciate Levin’s honesty. He believes what he believes. And that is, there’s no such thing as Sasquatch.
When people say that however, after they’ve listened to several witness accounts, I always want to ask them: “But, what did you think of those stories?” Do you think the witness is a liar? A fool? Mistaking a bear for a Bigfoot? Been out in the woods too long? What? The same question can be asked of the UFO skeptic: okay, after hearing the stories of a dozen or more people, “What do you think of them?”
Not what do you think in general, or anything else, but what’s your direct response to the witness and his or her account?
I don’t think he can get to that point. He has, he writes, been given plenty of information on Bigfoot over the years, but he’s not buying. He didn’t believe in Santa Claus as a child, he says, and he doesn’t do Bigfoot today:
A lot of amateur sasquatch research employs a forced, mangled scientific jargon that sounds silly, and there are conclusions drawn that make a Swiss cheese of logic. And the more touchy-feely bigfoot writing heaps on the nativist hoo-haw and New Age fluff like so much whipped cream spooned atop the honky appropriation of indigenous myth.
He prefers to by-pass witness accounts, comparing Bigfoot encounters to Biblical accounts:
That said, it’s just as difficult to prove, scientifically speaking, the reality of burning bushes, parted seas, 40-day floods and a six-day work week where God cooked up heaven and earth, yet hoards of people continue to believe these things heart and soul. As both legend and contested reality, the real source of bigfoot’s appeal, like the source of the Bible’s appeal, is anecdotal — as a fable filled with wonder, suspense and local color, all ringed with a halo of otherworldliness.
“The real source of Bigfoot’s appeal…?” His opinion but speak for yourself. I’ve never seen a Bigfoot but I choose to believe the people I know and trust, who’ve chosen to share with me their stories of seeing a Sasquatch. Simple. Like most skeptics, whether it’s UFOs or what, they do this weird dance thing around the topic they reject. They don’t think much of it, often don’t know much about it, certainly aren’t of the opinion it exists, yet they have all kinds of ideas about what it is, means, represents, symbolizes, is capable of . . .
Levin gives a good account of Dave Rodriquez’s encounters, and yet, after describing those encounters, Levin doesn’t stop to think about those sightings. Did he think Rodriquez was lying? Mistaken? No, it seems Levin projects much; as with his comparison of the Bible and folklore to Bigfoot encounters, he offers his reasons why people tell stories about seeing Bigfoot:
At the Oregon Sasquatch Symposium, people told stories in order to prove that something else lives despite mountains of doubt and a lack of palpable proof, which is something akin to the religious impulse compelling converts to proselytize.
It’s just a loop; “mountains of doubt” disappear once you’ve seen a Bigfoot.
Maybe I’m being too hard on Levin. He does treat the speakers and the conference with respect, which is appreciated, and is honest in his feelings. And he ends by saying … well, read it for yourself.
And to think I missed it! Instead, was relaxing, enjoying good wine, food and company, unraveling myself from the work week. . .
Eugene, Ore. — Sarah Palin could have hardly picked a more crunchy granola town to give a speech in than Eugene. Despite its pioneer and logging heritage, the town where Nike running shoes were born from a waffle iron is high on organic food, snobby about craft beers and tattoos, home to the University of Oregon and dependably votes Democratic. Last year, the mayor declared the first week in May as Medical Marijuana Awareness Week.
Yet the Lane County Republican party couldn’t be prouder of landing the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate, who uses “granola” as a term of derision, as the headliner for its Lincoln Day fundraiser dinner Friday night. “She’s a pretty brave woman, I think,” said Bill Young, a Eugene veterinarian and chairman of the Lane County Republican Party.
“I think that everybody is concerned that it doesn’t seem to fit the mold,” he said. “Yet you have to realize there are a lot of Republicans and conservatives who live in this area. I’m just thankful she agreed to come, and put Eugene on the map, so to
Oh it fits the mold all right. Despite the veneer of hippie groovy-ness in this town, which I do appreciate, no one’s fooled. (And how did I miss Medical Marijuana Awareness Week?!) This town and all the towns around this bit of alternative culture are seething with right wing types.
Plenty of people in these parts were willing to pay good money to see Palin, even if it was on a closed feed and not literally see her in person in the next room:
At $250 a head, the party has sold out the Eugene Hilton hall where Palin will speak. The hall seats about 800, and the party has also sold most of the $100 seats in an overflow room with a video feed, Young said.
Seventy people who donated $1,000 will get a photo with Palin and a signed copy of her book. Reporters can watch on video, but can’t use recording devices. In the old days, that could have drawn a crowd of angry demonstrators. Students at the university were early protesters against the Vietnam War. In 1970, the ROTC building was bombed. Eugene’s anarchist community sent protesters to the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle in 1999. And a cell of the Earth Liberation Front, calling itself The Family, was convicted of a string of arsons during the 1990s.
Whoa, that took a weird turn! Notice how the article abruptly goes from discussion of the cost of seeing Palin and the non use of recording devices, to the verbiage crafted to put Eugene hippie types in a negative light: “ROTC builidng was bombed…anarchist community …riots … convicted of arsons…” juxtaposed with solid, America lovin’ Palin.
Residents in John Day in Eastern Oregon are fighting Aryan Nation scum who want to buy and settle in the area: Rural Ore. rises against Aryan Nations A man, Forteanly named Paul R. Mullet, says he’s the leader of the movement, which is in dispute with other PNW self-described neo-nazi Aryan Nation whatevers. But Mullet is having a hard time because no real estate agency will do business with him, according to the news item.
Oregon will soon find out if teachers will be allowed to wear “religious garb” in the classrooms. (I assume this applies to non-certified instructional and support staff as well.)
With a strongly favorable vote in the House on Wednesday, Oregon is on its way to becoming the 48th state to permit teachers to wear head scarves and other religious dress in school.
The 51-8 vote on House Bill 3686 is the first decision toward repealing Oregon’s 87-year-old ban on religious garb. Oregon, Nebraska and Pennsylvania are the only states that prohibit religious clothing.
If approved, the Oregon law would take effect in 2011. Before that, the state’s education and labor agencies would hammer out rules designed to protect students from religious coercion while allowing observant Muslim women, Sikhs and Orthodox Jewish men to teach in Oregon classrooms.
It goes to the Senate next.
The opposition to this bill is ironic; among those against teachers wearing “religious garb” is the ACLU, and Representative Ron Maurer, out of Grants Pass. Maurer says that “we put . . . teachers on a pedestal” to support his opinion that students are impressionable, and too swayed by their teacher’s beliefs. I wonder what Maurer’s record is on voting for teacher and school issues; if, as he says, teachers are “put on pedestals” one assumes he’s all for school funding and related issues.
The reasons for not having teachers wear “religious garb” (unclear if it also applies to religious jewelry) includes unduly influencing “impressionable” children. Apparently those who believe that students will suddenly want to follow Buddha or Mohammed or whoever don’t feel secure enough in their own beliefs and values, let alone parenting skills. Ironic that in a school setting which, at least in theory, fosters critical and individual thinking, is also the potential site for censorship of differing beliefs.
There’s already clear policies in place concerning teaching of religions and maintaining what school districts in the area call “religious neutrality.” And yet, the state has mandated that teachers drill their students once a month in propaganda by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which includes of course the following . . . “one nation, under God.”
On the opposition side (against repeal of the ban) is the fear about religions being taught in schools seems to be the motivating factor here, as if the state doesn’t trust its teachers to know the difference between acknowledging one’s personal faith, and preaching or attempting to convert others.
Religious beliefs and traditions can get murky; a crucifix is an obvious symbol, but Wiccan, Native American, possibly some Buddhist symbols, and so on are more nebulous … where does one decide what is “religious?” Wicca is a federally recognized religion; will Wicca symbols be included?
Oregon already has a religion in the workplace law which protects employees from harassment for wearing religious garb. Passed just this year, the Oregon Workplace Religious Freedom Act requires employers to:
accommodate the scheduling of leave time for religious observance and/or the wearing of religious apparel in the workplace, unless such practices would pose an undue hardship.
It’s only in the classrooms that this consideration is considered unworthy.
This isn’t about anything other than control.
Maybe somewhat ironically, I am not a Christian, not a religious person (not any mainstream religion anyway) and support the separation of church and state yet find those who want to keep teachers from wearing religious garb scary for its Orwellian tone.
Adding to the irony of this is the history of the ban as well as the esoteric elements (1923, KKK initials,) in 1923, Oregon banned religious dress in schools in part to keep nuns from teaching, but it gets better: